News

$1m a year pledged if elected

By Benalla Ensign

A pledge by the Liberal-Nationals to provide significant funding for rural road and bridge infrastructure, should it be elected to government, has been warmly welcomed by the peak body representing Victorian rural councils.

Last week the Coalition announced all Victorian rural shire councils would receive about $1 million per annum for four years if they were elected to government in November.

Rural Councils Victoria chair Rob Gersch said the program would make a huge difference to rural councils, which were continually advocating for greater funding to fix up ageing roads.

‘‘This has been one of the major advocacy issues which Rural Councils Victoria has lobbied for on behalf of our rural communities,’’ Cr Gersch said.

‘‘In our submission to the 2018/19 Victorian Budget we made it clear that our roads are the links that keep rural Victoria’s economy alive, but they’re falling apart.

‘‘With small ratepayer populations, limited sources of revenue and thousands of kilometres of roads to maintain, rural councils are struggling to manage extensive road and bridge infrastructure.

‘‘State government support means the difference between a dangerous and poorly maintained road network and a vibrant rural economy.

‘‘This cash investment would go a long way to maintaining the key road links that keep Victoria’s produce and visitor economy going.

‘‘We welcome the pledge made by the Coalition and call on the Labor Government to share our commitment to ensuring that rural councils will be able to maintain the roads all Victorians rely on.’’

●Rural Councils Victoria’s submission to the 2018/19 Victorian budget can be downloaded from www.ruralcouncilsvictoria.org.au